Saturday, August 4, 2012

The Ten Commandments and Chicken Sandwiches

There is, as I’m sure nearly everybody knows, a big deal going on about Christians and gay rights advocates. I offer the following, which is nothing other than my current perspective, in the sincere hope that it will help to resolve the issue in the minds of at least some of the people on both sides

I have to say first off that I am not a Christian but I was raised by Christians, so I do understand the belief system. To anybody who may read this I’m going to first ask you to suspend your viewpoint, whatever it may be, for a couple of moments so you may understand more about the people who you think are in opposition to you. Some of The Ten Commandments don't apply to everybody of all religions. I invite you to take a quick look at them from the point of view of someone who is not a Christian...

1. Thou shalt have no other gods before me... What's the point of being a different religion if you can’t have a different god or concept of just who or what God is?

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image... I think graven images are kind of cool myself. I like the artwork. It doesn't mean I worship them though. But even if I did that is sometimes just the nature of being part of a different religion .

3. Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain... I understand it's a good thing to be respectful to a god and those who worship them but I really personally think they're big enough to take it without being bothered. And if my swearing offends someone I sincerely apologize.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Just an Average Guy

This post was done originally on my old blog, The Better Side of Humanity. It still applies so I copied it over here. Enjoy!

Every once in a while you meet someone who really stands out and impresses you.

That would not be true of one of my friends from when I was in the Navy; Tim. There is not one single thing about him that stands out in any way what-so-ever.

So what if he and some of his friends got together with some beer and a barbecue on some warm, calm and sunny day to have a party in his back yard and go swimming with absolutely nothing out of the ordinary going on? Big deal! He’s just an average guy right?

Okay… so it wasn’t exactly a party, per se, it was more work related. And there wasn’t any beer and likely no barbecue either. I’m not exactly clear on that point.

Well, one thing I should mention is the “friends” I mentioned weren’t exactly what you’d call friends either, in the Navy they are called “shipmates” but they could be friends, or not, based on whatever they decide.

Also I don’t know how warm it was either so we can forget all about that too because it could have been quite cold. He hasn’t told me that part of the story yet.

One other thing I could tell you which I originally omitted is that instead of jumping into the water from a diving board or the edge of the pool, it was from a Navy helicopter. I’m told that this is somehow different.

Other than that I’m sure my report is completely accurate…except of course for where this “party” happened was not exactly in his backyard. It was somewhere between the Philippine Islands and Japan. Small details yes, but still they went swimming in the ocean, so how bad could it have been right? We all like to hang out on the beach and go for a nice relaxing swim in the sea.

Only it wasn’t quite what most people would describe as “calm” either. Instead it was in the driving wind and rain. Oh, and the waves in the ocean were somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty feet but how significant could that really be?

However there was nothing other than that out of the ordinary for a swim in the ocean hundreds of miles from land. Well…except I guess I could mention the freighter which broke up on the big waves and sank. But what the hell, if thirty foot waves could sink a ship what could they do to a person who is swimming in them? No problem! Right?

I mean it would have been easy! A piece of cake… Except that when the sunken freighter broke up it dumped its cargo into the sea. It had been carrying a load of telephone pole sized pieces of lumber, which were then floating on the water and formed a huge log jam that was bouncing all over on the huge waves. No doubt they were smashing into each other or anybody who happened to be in the water at the time with incredibly deadly force. So what? It’s just a day’s work.

There’s nothing unusual about it except one might be inclined to ask “Why would somebody do something like that?” The simple answer would be to save the lives of the crewmen on the freighter, of which they were regrettably only able to save fourteen out of the twenty. And he didn’t just jump in once, grab a bunch of people and then move on, he jumped in numerous times over a period of time lasting more than six hours.

As a matter of fact the only thing out of the ordinary with Tim is that when I asked him if he would mind my writing a story about this event his response was “Sure... If you think anybody'd be interested.” I can even kind of see him in my mind nonchalantly shrugging his shoulders as he typed it. That’s kind of unusual but other than that he’s just your everyday kind of guy. Oh, I almost forgot, he won the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, which is the highest peacetime award for heroism that the Navy can give out.

Yes, Tim is just another ordinary dime-a-dozen kind of guy. At least for a veteran.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

The Fourth of July

american flag animation
Way back in 1982 I woke up one day and discovered the brutal reality that in my post high school days, weeks, months and years my life had become somewhat meaningless. So I joined the Navy’s delayed entry program. I won’t bore you with the details as to how that decision came to be but suffice it to say it did, and in the eight months before I went into active duty I decided to start off by being the best sailor I could be. One of the things I set out to do was to understand fully what I’d signed up for. So I sat down and memorized all of the general orders verbatim as well as the history and traditions of the Navy. The most life changing part that I committed to memory was the enlisted oath.

"I, Brett Ashton, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God."

"…Support and defend the Constitution of the United States…" kind of stands out in this oath because it is placed first and foremost above all other lower considerations like presidents and officers. Over the years since, I undertook the project of understanding exactly what that meant, since after all, I had just sworn to potentially give up my life for it. In doing so over the years since, I have come to realize that my education in not only the Constitution but the Declaration of Independence is potentially far superior to the oath I took to fight and die for it, because far more often than not, fighting is not necessary in the face of understanding, nor is the possibility of a fight against us the largest threat to our Constitution or Declaration and the freedoms postulated within them. The largest threat is ignorance of them and what they really say and why they say what they do.

This kind of ignorance is caused by not actually having read them for yourself and understood the exact meaning of each sentence. The kind of ignorance caused by taking the words of other people as experts who may have had some dishonest or biased motivation or interest in your misunderstanding the principals within. These documents are binding contracts between our government and us. More importantly they are written for us.

I hope for all of my family and friends to have a safe and happy Independence Day as well as all of their friends and families. My only wish for myself this year, as a man who took the oath to fight and, if need be, die to protect our Constitution and Declaration of Independence, is that you will take the time to read them and understand them for yourself. In doing so you would have fought back to that degree the thing which threatens us the most. So that others like me, who took the oath, some of them dying as a result, will not have done it in vain.

After all, it’s only our freedom that is at stake.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

The Fire Triangle: Basic Economics and Firefighting

There is a basic philosophical and scientific principle that when a very complex situation begins to resolve into simplicity you are on the right path to an answer that works. This principal is called Ockham’s Razor. According to the dictionary here in Microsoft Word it is: “The philosophical and scientific rule that simple explanations should be preferred to more complicated ones, and that the explanation of a new phenomenon should be based on what is already known.” I’ve also heard it expressed as “All things being equal, the simplest explanation is most likely to be the most accurate one.” Even more simplified than that, not to mention very popular among engineers is a little thing called “The Scotty Factor” which is stated as “The more they overthink the plumbing the easier it is to stop up the drain.”

There are an awful lot of words there to express a very simple concept. I prefer to break that down even further to just plain old “Keep it simple stupid.”

I get a kick out of all of these debates in the world of politics regarding the economy and what to do about it. It’s no wonder the subject is so confusing. It’s based on the longest of explanations and most complex ideas, which are only opinions of experts based on opinions of other experts, who wrote books about the other expert’s opinions and won Nobel Prizes for their writings. Since none of their theories lead to any practical understanding or resolution of any problems that anybody can measure, and their predictions of what is going on in the world are mostly wrong, I can only assume that most of these guys know nothing about anything other than how good their voices sound when broadcast on national television.

In attempt to help simplify the subject for the readers who may be interested, I wrote some of the basic understandings I’ve observed regarding money on this blog some number of months ago. It's appropriately titled The Rules of Money. That post only covers what money is and how it acts, but is not really designed around the idea of economics involving the establishment of jobs and companies and yes, the dreaded (rightfully so) labor unions.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Communist Goals

This data seems far too difficult to find and far too important to be lost. So I'm posting it here to make it more available to those who may want to review it.

Communist Goals (1963) Congressional Record--Appendix, pp. A34-A35 January 10, 1963
Mr. HERLONG. Mr. Speaker, Mrs. Patricia Nordman of De Land, Fla., is an ardent and articulate opponent of communism, and until recently published the De Land Courier, which she dedicated to the purpose of alerting the public to the dangers of communism in America.
At Mrs. Nordman's request, I include in the RECORD, under unanimous consent, the following "Current Communist Goals," which she identifies as an excerpt from "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen:
[From "The Naked Communist," by Cleon Skousen]
1. U.S. acceptance of coexistence as the only alternative to atomic war.
2. U.S. willingness to capitulate in preference to engaging in atomic war.
3. Develop the illusion that total disarmament [by] the United States would be a demonstration of moral strength.
4. Permit free trade between all nations regardless of Communist affiliation and regardless of whether or not items could be used for war.
5. Extension of long-term loans to Russia and Soviet satellites.
6. Provide American aid to all nations regardless of Communist domination.
7. Grant recognition of Red China. Admission of Red China to the U.N.
8. Set up East and West Germany as separate states in spite of Khrushchev's promise in 1955 to settle the German question by free elections under supervision of the U.N.
9. Prolong the conferences to ban atomic tests because the United States has agreed to suspend tests as long as negotiations are in progress.
10. Allow all Soviet satellites individual representation in the U.N.
11. Promote the U.N. as the only hope for mankind. If its charter is rewritten, demand that it be set up as a one-world government with its own independent armed forces. (Some Communist leaders believe the world can be taken over as easily by the U.N. as by Moscow. Sometimes these two centers compete with each other as they are now doing in the Congo.)
12. Resist any attempt to outlaw the Communist Party.
13. Do away with all loyalty oaths.
14. Continue giving Russia access to the U.S. Patent Office.
15. Capture one or both of the political parties in the United States.
16. Use technical decisions of the courts to weaken basic American institutions by claiming their activities violate civil rights.
17. Get control of the schools. Use them as transmission belts for socialism and current Communist propaganda. Soften the curriculum. Get control of teachers' associations. Put the party line in textbooks.
18. Gain control of all student newspapers.
19. Use student riots to foment public protests against programs or organizations which are under Communist attack.
20. Infiltrate the press. Get control of book-review assignments, editorial writing, policy-making positions.
21. Gain control of key positions in radio, TV, and motion pictures.
22. Continue discrediting American culture by degrading all forms of artistic expression. An American Communist cell was told to "eliminate all good sculpture from parks and buildings, substitute shapeless, awkward and meaningless forms."
23. Control art critics and directors of art museums. "Our plan is to promote ugliness, repulsive, meaningless art."
24. Eliminate all laws governing obscenity by calling them "censorship" and a violation of free speech and free press.
25. Break down cultural standards of morality by promoting pornography and obscenity in books, magazines, motion pictures, radio, and TV.
26. Present homosexuality, degeneracy and promiscuity as "normal, natural, healthy."
27. Infiltrate the churches and replace revealed religion with "social" religion. Discredit the Bible and emphasize the need for intellectual maturity, which does not need a "religious crutch."
28. Eliminate prayer or any phase of religious expression in the schools on the ground that it violates the principle of "separation of church and state."
29. Discredit the American Constitution by calling it inadequate, old-fashioned, out of step with modern needs, a hindrance to cooperation between nations on a worldwide basis.
30. Discredit the American Founding Fathers. Present them as selfish aristocrats who had no concern for the "common man."
31. Belittle all forms of American culture and discourage the teaching of American history on the ground that it was only a minor part of the "big picture." Give more emphasis to Russian history since the Communists took over.
32. Support any socialist movement to give centralized control over any part of the culture--education, social agencies, welfare programs, mental health clinics, etc.
33. Eliminate all laws or procedures which interfere with the operation of the Communist apparatus.
34. Eliminate the House Committee on Un-American Activities.
35. Discredit and eventually dismantle the FBI.
36. Infiltrate and gain control of more unions.
37. Infiltrate and gain control of big business.
38. Transfer some of the powers of arrest from the police to social agencies. Treat all behavioral problems as psychiatric disorders which no one but psychiatrists can understand [or treat].
39. Dominate the psychiatric profession and use mental health laws as a means of gaining coercive control over those who oppose Communist goals.
40. Discredit the family as an institution. Encourage promiscuity and easy divorce.
41. Emphasize the need to raise children away from the negative influence of parents. Attribute prejudices, mental blocks and retarding of children to suppressive influence of parents.
42. Create the impression that violence and insurrection are legitimate aspects of the American tradition; that students and special-interest groups should rise up and use ["]united force["] to solve economic, political or social problems.
43. Overthrow all colonial governments before native populations are ready for self-government.
44. Internationalize the Panama Canal.
45. Repeal the Connally reservation so the United States cannot prevent the World Court from seizing jurisdiction [over domestic problems. Give the World Court jurisdiction] over nations and individuals alike.

Sources are listed below.
Microfilm: California State University at San Jose Clark Library, Government Floor Phone (408)924-2770 Microfilm Call Number: J 11.R5
Congressional Record, Vol. 109 88th Congress, 1st Session Appendix Pages A1-A2842 Jan. 9-May 7, 1963 Reel 12

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Rights and Governments

It has long been said that the Constitution does not grant your rights; even the enumerated ones. It doesn’t even give us a guarantee that they will protect our rights from anybody else who might want to deprive us of them. It only says that the Federal government is not allowed to interfere with them themselves and defending our rights beyond that is pretty much up to us. In seeing this point I look at Jefferson, a man among many who distrusted government, stating in the Declaration of Independence that the purpose of government is to defend our most sacred rights. I suppose that while that's true I kind of have to wonder who is supposed to guard the government while they guard our rights?

In modern politics the mistake a lot of people make is the thought that if something, like food or healthcare or housing, is called a right, it obligates the government and taxpayers to pay for it. So you get these odd statements like "You have no right to food!" This is an actual quote of a politician. The apparent solution to this is to say a bunch of things are not rights, which are necessary components to life, without which you would die and your right to life would thus be denied. The proper statement to make would be; “Of course you have the right to food! You just don’t have the right to take money from other people using the force of law to pay for it.” So, if you continue to tell people what their rights are and are not, particularly those critical to the sustenance of their lives, you can expect to lose a lot of elections.

The other side of this coin is the more proper consideration that everything you can think to do under the sun that causes no harm to anybody else is a right. It’s called freedom. The big problem with this in the definitions used in modern politics is that by calling everything a right and making the government provide all of that to you, is catastrophically expensive to everyone paying the bill. Even worse than that though, the government is then free to regulate all of your human rights, which in turn makes them not your rights.

Life is a horrible prospect when you are totally dependent on others to sustain it because you become beholden to them to return the favor. This is the illusion of freedom but is really just another form of tyranny. They have made the assumption that just because you call it a right, the government and taxpayers are obligated to foot the bill, which is clearly no more true on the left than it was on the right. In other words, just because I have the right to listen to Led Zeppelin in my pursuit of happiness does not mean the government should be on the hook for a copy of Physical Graffiti and an MP3 player.

So it seems to me the flaw on both sides is the acceptance of the premise that the government is somehow fiscally responsible for our rights. Nowhere is it written in any of God or Man's laws that I've ever read or heard of, that the payment of all expenses incurred by the exercise of your rights has to be delivered by anybody but you! To believe so takes the concept of God given rights away from you and subjugates it to the almighty yet increasingly scarce taxpayer dollar distributed by the almighty government.

This misconception I think, traces back to the consideration espoused by Jefferson that governments are instituted among men to secure our rights. It is true, however I invite your to take a look around the modern world and you will see all the evidence of what clever propagandists can do with the wisdom of such a statement twisted out of context.

There is a quote that might be mistakenly attributed to George Washington in fairly broad circulation these days. Regardless of if Washington originally said it or not, it is still true that, "Government is not reason, nor eloquence; it is force. And like fire, it is a dangerous servant and a fearsome master." Yet to this day subsequent politicians absolutely insist this dangerous force be put in charge of providing our rights, with the taxpayers left to foot the bill for every single thing under the sun which you have a right to do under the pursuit of happiness and right to life. I can’t think of anything more shortsighted and outright stupid than to do such a thing. Nor can I think of a way to more quickly hand over your rights to a tyrant.

Even as postulated, under our Constitution we've had violations of human rights in this country up to and including genocide. This is not a, "blame America, bash America," argument in any way. Nor is it a statement that I could have done any better. Nor is it an endorsement of any other system. Nor is it a statement that Jefferson was in any way insincere. On the contrary he was a rather brilliant man. Giving him the further benefit of the doubt, with his education under consideration, he likely got the idea from another statesman from hundreds or even thousands of years before him. Still his sentence in the Declaration is where it begins to pertain to American politics.

His statement was not intended to be a declaration of rights. It was intended to lay the framework of a Declaration of Independence from a tyrant. The only people that it was legally binding on were the King and the colonists of 1776. However all too often people use it as a declaration of rights for the modern day American with the resulting placement of those rights in the hands of less than worthy men and women. The subsequent result is a twenty trillion dollar debt, Obamacare and the potential total loss of our rights to control the health of our very own bodies, through the force and fire of government intervening where it clearly doesn’t belong. Along with a government who couldn't recognize your rights if they were bitten in the ass by them; let alone respect or protect them.

That the government has the power to secure your rights, outside of the context within the Declaration of Independence casting off a tyrant, is a false and cleverly deceptive idea which makes good fodder for propaganda directed towards the eventual and subtle loss of your freedom. Your rights stand alone and exist only between you and your maker. Only you and that singular being in the universe whom you conceive to be your maker have any business in them. The government has no legitimate authority, force, function or business being involved with them. That is freedom.

Your rights exist with or without the government. They also exist with or without Mister Jefferson’s permission or support.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Rights, Logic, Definitions, and of course, GUNS!

It is pretty much accepted by everybody that we have the right to life.

Food, housing and healthcare = life.

No food or no shelter or no healthcare = death.

Life is a right but somehow food, housing and healthcare are not? How can somebody argue the right to something like life, yet argue that everything needed to support it is not a right?

Sounds awful liberal at this point doesn't it? Trust me. It isn't.

Rights come from God (or just being human, for those people who prefer the secular argument) not government.

But somehow if it is said “food is a right” it is assumed that food has to come from government.

But somehow if it is said “housing is a right” it is assumed that housing has to come from government.

But somehow if it is said “healthcare is a right” it is assumed that healthcare has to come from government.

But rights don’t come from government.

If rights don’t come from government than food as a right, necessary to the support of the right to live, shouldn’t either. The government can then regulate it. How can something that is really a right be regulated by the whims of the federal government?

If rights don’t come from government than housing as a right, necessary to the support of the right to live, shouldn’t either. Again, the government can then regulate it. And again, how can something that is really a right be regulated by the whims of the federal government?

If rights don’t come from government than healthcare as a right, necessary to the support of the right to live, shouldn’t either. Yet again, the government can then regulate it. How can something that is really a right be regulated by the whims of the federal government?

The only flaw I see here is in the acceptance of the assumption that healthcare, food and housing, if accepted to be rights, have to come from the government or the government is somehow responsible for providing them. Clearly they don’t but more than that they shouldn’t if they are truly rights.

It sounds like a lot of people have some confusion between the definitions of rights, responsibilities and entitlements.

Just for the fun of it, and to make a point, I would like to use the concept of "government provided rights" and apply it to something that is also a legitimate right necessary to life. That's right; guns.

According to the Constitution the People have the right to keep and bear arms. And according to liberals rights come from the government which is responsible for the fulfillment of them. Therefore as part of my rights and the government's responsibility to me, I would like a Kimber Gold Match II, chambered in .45 ACP and five thousand rounds of Federal Hydra-Shok ammo to go with it.  I'd also kind of like to have an M-4 and an MP-5 with about ten thousand rounds of ammo for each. A free place to shoot them would be fantastic.

But no! The government makes ME pay for my own firearms and ammo!

If it is my right to keep and bear arms, and if it is also my right to defend myself, I think it's time we demand the fulfillment of our rights and make the government pay for our guns and ammo. However it may be asking a bit to much for liberals to be so consistent in their logic.